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Tis the Season

July 4, 2016

If your heart is set on a particular day, choosing your wedding date is one less thing to worry about. If you aren’t one who falls in that category, selecting the right time can be more challenging than you think as there are factors to consider. Breaking down the pros and cons of each season is a good place to start and, at the very least, helps narrow down your time frame.

Spring is the time of year associated with rejuvenation and newness as colors begin to reemerge and the climate warms following the drabness and cold of winter. The lush landscaping and countless flowers beginning to bloom make for wonderful photos and beautiful bouquets. Chances are your friends will be thrilled to get together and celebrate after the hullabaloo of the holidays is over.

Because it is not the most popular time for a wedding, you may be able to get lower rates with vendors but, with summer approaching, the competition will increase for venues, available dates and prices will begin to rise. Additionally, the weather can be finicky and occasional showers do occur without warning.

Summer is the most popular time to wed for a variety of reasons. With children out of school, parents often plan on a more relaxed schedule including vacation time which would allow your friends and family separated by distance to share in your special day with you. Also, due to the hectic nature of the first half of the year, chances are your guests haven’t been spending much.  Therefore, they may have a bit in their budget for extra special wedding gifts for you.

On the negative side, the first thing is the weather. Regardless of how cool the inside of a venue may be, the heat can cause issues with your hair and makeup during outdoor photos, not to mention the discomfort for those who either just don’t like the heat or cannot tolerate it well. On another note, because it is the most popular time for a wedding, prices will be at their peak and there is a chance that some of your guests may be invited to another ceremony on the same day.

Fall is ideal for you if you are a fan of oranges, gold, rust and darker colors as well as falling leaves and cooler, brisk temperatures. It is a time that brings with it a sense of togetherness and tranquility. With fruits, vegetables and leaves being abundant, there are numerous ways to create one-of-a-kind decorations that are not only elegant but incorporate the sentiments of these months.

Unfortunately, if berries and greenery won’t replace your heart’s desire for bright, vibrant flowers, this may not be the time of year for you unless you are willing to have flowers shipped in from wherever they may be available (at a very steep price). Also, school begins again, people have plans for Labor Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving so you need to keep those dates in mind.

Winter might not be your first choice (as it isn’t for most brides) but, with it comes an air of coziness and romance unmatched by any other time of year. Not only is everyone already feeling a sense of togetherness, the sun sets earlier and there is nothing warmer in the world than closely holding the arm of your new husband. Vendors are more likely to be available and because there is less competition, not only are prices typically already lower, there is often room for negotiation.

Despite the unexpected pros, there are some drawbacks. One is that the cold and lack of foliage can make outdoor photos less desirable so many of them may have to be done indoors. As well, your guests are probably saving money for the holidays, have preexisting plans and travel arrangements are much more expensive and difficult during this time.

Your wedding will be wonderful regardless of the day you choose but, realistically, no matter the day, there are always factors and possible conflicts that may arise which are out of your control. A seasonal breakdown is an easy way to quickly eliminate large spans of time so you can begin focusing on the particular day.

All in the Families

June 12, 2016

Your wedding symbolizes the beginning of a life with your husband filled with new adventures, traditions, memories and, most likely, children of your own. It is also a blending of two existing families as you become a member of your husband’s and he does yours. This special time is a very appropriate one to remind your family that your bond and loving relationship will continue to grow.

When making your registry list, casually ask your parents what they would want if they were to get married again. Keep the response in mind and purchase it for them as a surprise (don’t add it to your list or they will likely find out). Doing so is a fun way to include your parents in your planning while giving them a keepsake of their own choosing without their even knowing.

Personalized handkerchiefs are appropriate for both of your parents and come in handy to wipe away tears during your ceremony. Additionally, thoughtful embroidered messages show your gratitude for the role they have played in your life to date as well as remind them that you will continue to nurture and treasure that relationship.  

One way to demonstrate the joining of your family with that of your husband’s in a creative and sentimental way also requires a bit of secrecy and snooping. Each of you need to ask friends and family which song your respective parents played for their first dance. After the two of you have danced to the one of your own choosing, play each of theirs. This shows that, as your new life begins, it does not do so as a party of two, but as a party of too many to count.

Your future in-laws should not be forgotten and perhaps the most meaningful token of appreciation is a handwritten note. Express to them not only your excitement about what lies ahead with their son, but your gratitude for their acceptance of you, and most importantly, for the wonderful job they did raising the one person who makes you complete.

Parents sometimes fear that they are “losing” their son or daughter once he/she gets married (perhaps it comes from the notion of “giving away”) rather than seeing it as gaining another child. With time, that fear dissipates but, small gestures on your part can keep it from ever arising.

Never(tr)ending Ideas

May 28, 2016

Every year (and often each season), new and creative styles and ideas for your wedding day emerge as the notion of what is acceptable or expected continues to evolve. These allow every bride, from the most conservative to the extraordinarily eclectic, have some fresh ideas in their stockpile from which to choose.

Sometimes two is better than one (pieces that is). More and more brides are opting for gowns consisting of a top and separate skirt. Doing so opens up the door to infinite options by letting you mix and match fabrics, styles and even colors. Additionally, you will have fun designing your own dress and know that it will truly be one of a kind.

Having a friend or loved one perform your ceremony is also growing in popularity although it requires research as well as time and effort. The person you select must be willing to go through the necessary steps to become ordained and the laws regarding officiants vary depending on location. On the upside, doing so gives you the chance to work together on the ceremony script, making it highly personalized.

Flowers, whether for bouquets, boutonnieres or table decorations, are being taken over by berry-accented greenery, moss, ivy and succulents. Doing so can be pulled off in a very elegant, unexpected and surprising (not to mention cost-effective) manner.

It was typically expected that your wedding would be filled with bright and cheerful colors as a symbol of your marriage. As options expand, there is an increase in those who opt for neutrals, whether all white, ecru, tan or similar shades with very few accents. Surprisingly, rather than appearing drab, such tones radiate while creating a sense of elegance.

You can step outside the box and experiment with what is new and modern without doing so in ways that will make you look back at your wedding photos and wonder what you were thinking. Do not be afraid of the word “trend” as it don’t not have to be synonymous with blatant or over the top.

Let’s be ReaLISTic

May 14, 2016

Creating your guest list is no different from many other projects as you will start with a monumental idea only to realize the need for a more practical outcome. Whether you are planning a small, intimate ceremony or one to which you invite hundreds, there are some that should NEVER be included and others whom there is no obligation to extend an invitation to.  Here are just a few of those….

Certainly, there are people you see often and seemingly know every detail of your life, whether your manicurist, co-worker, boss etc. Therefore, you have had conversations about your upcoming marriage and perhaps each aspect of the planning process. However, neither that knowledge nor the amount of time spent together necessitate an invite.

There is no need to include all members of your family as, most likely, you have relatives with whom you don’t keep in contact with unless via holiday cards or see every few years if you happen to pass through their town or attend a family reunion. A great way to include them in your celebration (while alleviating feelings of guilt) is to send them an announcement along with a photo and personalized note.

It goes without saying that you exes belong in the “should NEVER be invited” category even if you have been apart for years and remain friends. Perhaps he/they has moved on as well but there is no assurance that seemingly long gone emotions won’t be stirred up. However, you can likely guarantee that his/their attendance would create an uncomfortable situation for your fiancé.

Plus ones are often expected to be included as some feel more comfortable attending an event which is a celebration of love, happiness and unity with their significant other rather than going alone. Of course, you should encourage your close family and friends to bring a guest. However, if you are not including certain relatives or others with whom you spend much of your time, there is no requirement to surround yourself with people you have never met.

Friends from high school with whom you only exchange occasional hellos with on social media, neighbors and friends of friends also fall into the “should NEVER be invited” category as you would not expect them to attend, mind if they didn’t or notice if they did. Also, it may seem as if their inclusion is merely an attempt to get more gifts as many do feel obliged to respond to an invitation in such a manner.

Chances are that you have heard all about weddings that you were not invited to and probably didn’t even give a second of thought to it. It is your day to be surrounded by those who mean the most to you. Including many who are either strangers or acquaintances casts a shadow over the value of ones you hold nearest and dearest.

Some Rules Were Meant to be Broken

April 11, 2016

Weddings are often planned around age old traditions, some of which you may feel comfortable making slight variations to but don’t want to appear as if you are either stepping too far outside the box or not taking your commitment seriously. Thankfully, times are changing and, after all, it is YOUR day so here are some ideas you may not have considered….

You don’t need a theme and not everything has to match. It would not only be unique but an honor to let your bridal party choose their own gowns. One may be pink, long and satin while another could be short, causal and floral. There’s an element of fun in letting those closest to you show their individual personality (not to mention that it makes for great photos).

Customarily, your parents pay for the wedding and your fiancé’s do so for the rehearsal dinner although the two of you may be on your own. One way to save money and set yourself apart, regardless of who is contributing, is to have your bridesmaids wear corsages. Opting out of bouquets not only significantly reduces your budget but makes it easier for them to help you both in preparation for but as well your ceremony.

Maybe white isn’t right whether it comes to your ring or your dress. If there is a stone you love and would prefer over a diamond, select it as you will be wearing it for countless years to come. What matters is the meaning behind it to you. Additionally, in reference to your dress, a selection of white paired with another color is one option or, if you have your heart set on red, blue pink etc., any gown can still be made to look as elegant and special despite not being white.

Weddings are celebrations and meant to be fun. Not only should you show off your individuality/personality but allow everyone else to do the same.

Unite Me

March 20, 2016

Many couples getting married choose to personalize their wedding by incorporating a unity ceremony.   A unity candle is what one thinks of most but there are a number of other options that have the same meaning.  Customarily these are performed immediately following the exchange of vows and rings but occasionally they will take place earlier in the wedding. Soft music is often played during this time.

The sand ceremony is a modern and unique alternative to the unity candle. You and your groom pour a different color of sand into a clear container. Each color represents your past lives as individuals and the blending of the sand provides the visual representation of your coming together as one.  This is a perfect opportunity to include children and other family members if you choose to.  As each person pours a different colored sand into the vase, they are making a commitment to become one family.

The cross ceremony is beautiful way to celebrate the joining of two people. It is most often used in church weddings. The outer portion of a multi-pieced cross represents the groom and the inner portion, the bride. When put together, the pieces form a beautiful cross which represents your togetherness in marriage through God. Once the cross is assembled, it is placed on a stand on which your names and wedding date have been inscribed.

The love letter ceremony is one in which you and your finance write letters to one another before the wedding telling each other why you fell in love.  During the wedding ceremony, the letters are placed in a wooden box to be opened at a later date, usually on an anniversary.

Rose ceremonies are a lovely addition to any wedding and are another alternative to the unity candle. A single red rose has always meant “I love you.” Occurring before the final prayer and marriage pronouncement, you and your groom exchange two red roses which symbolize both your first gift to one another and your love for each other throughout your married life.

Although a unity ceremony is not necessary in order to symbolize the joining of two people, it is a beautiful and meaningful addition to any wedding.

 

You’re My Favor(ite)

March 9, 2016

Despite the fact that your guests should and probably do feel honored to be a part of your wonderful day, it is only appropriate that you give them favors as a token for their attendance, any gifts they have given you and especially if they have traveled or rearranged their schedule to attend. However, that is not an indication which requires spending a great amount of money nor be typical or easily anticipated.

One inexpensive way to kill two birds with one stone is to use small and economical containers, each filled with different sorts of succulents. On the front, you can put labels with the name of each guest and simply the number of their table at the reception. Therefore, not only does it keep you from making seating assignment cards but is a token of your appreciation which can grow and is long-lasting.

Select something meaningful and useful to which you can attach a card letting each guest know that you have made a donation to a charity on their behalf. No matter the organization, each attendant would be both surprised and humbled by the thought behind your decision to do so.

Find something local and unique to your area, whether candy, granola, tea etc. and package them in modest containers. If you wanted to extend yourself, cover the containers with local maps giving extra meaning to guests who have traveled for the occasion. If you choose not to use a map as a cover, simply fold it into a uniquely styled tag with a hand written message.

Any favor would be appreciated but there are many ways you can show your gratitude while both remaining in your budget and thinking outside the box.